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Poster: Liamfinnegan Date: Mar 29, 2007 5:25pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Trails from the Blotter: The Grateful Range

Those of you who know me know that I am open minded- my preferences have changed in the short 9 months I have been posting somewhat regularly. I like songs I did not like before- I certainly appreciate Weir's playing more- and I am always open to new adventures.

I have tried, really tried, to like post-Brent Dead- There have been moments, even whole shows, that were terrific (9-20-90, 12-9-90 China-Rider), but overall, and this is after listening to many shows pointed to by people I respect here and elsewhere, I really do not like the sound.

God bless Mr Welnick, who I know tried to just fill a role- If you listen closely to Mydland in the mid-80's and to Welnick, you will see the similarity- but Welnick makes the band sound like the are playing at a roller skating rink or at a baseball game.

That particular organ sound does not cut it- and it really sounds pedestrian and juvenile- not befitting such a grand band.

Speaking of grand, many have tried to get me to agree that Hornsby was the shit- that he was a huge addition to the band- Well I humbly disagree- He is a fantastic musician, no doubt- and some of his fills really worked at times- but mostly he really really sound like a hired hand- a guest musician- and his runs and stylings never left his range background- the music sounds like the title of my post- The Grateful Range.

Try as he may, Bruce never became Gratefulized- I think his ego thought the band could become rangified- that he would turn the ensemble into his back up band. If this were not the case, I feel that over time the band would have absorbed him- but even years later it still sounds like The grateful dead with bruce hornsby rather than the GD and their keyboard player.

I share the good and the bad here- I let people know where I am at- and after opposite day last week and after more post brent shows, this is where I sit. I wish it were otherwise, I do.

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Poster: mudcatbluez Date: Mar 29, 2007 7:39pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Trails from the Blotter: The Grateful Range


I guess that's why God created so many flavors of ice cream (I forget where I copped that line from)...it's all subjective, what we dig & what we don't. I've got to echo Liam's sentiments on practically every point. I've tried a couple times to give the '90's a fair shake and, sorry, they just don't do it for me...in pretty much the same way a '66 Fillmore gig may not do much to stir a fan of the latter era. The cool thing is this band manages to embrace that wide a spectrum, from Pigheads to the post-Brent era.

All my shows were '80-87 and most of my vinyl then was '70's era. Always a fan of Pig, it's only been since stumbling onto the LMA a couple+ years back that my love & appreciation of the man has spiked. These guys were blowing folks' minds when I was shitting in my diapers & were still hard at it when I hit 30. I stopped listening for a couple years after Brent died; felt like my goddamn stomach had been kicked out.

I love that there are so many '90's fans out there. The music resonated so deeply with them, and by so doing kept it relevant.

Peace.

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Poster: midnight sun Date: Mar 30, 2007 1:00am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Trails from the Blotter: The Grateful Range

Hi Liam

i'm another one who hasn't listened to much of the Hornsby era, and this is probably too subjective, but here goes;


2 keys, 2 guits, 2 drums = 2 MANY FREAKIN” NOTES!!!


Brent's death really messed me up...i was kinda hoping to see the boys continue on without keys...i know there would have been a void, but i like voids...yeah, your going to miss those signature keyboard lines and upper vocal harmonies, but i don't think it would have been that much of a stretch, and I think it just might have been a nice change...at least for a while

mid 60's Miles albums (Miles Smiles, Nefertiti) has Hancock (piano) sitting out during the horn solos, effectively reducing the quintet down to a trio for all of the improvised choruses...the bass (Ron Carter) and drums (Tony Williams) fill those spaces with some incredible shit, and the overall effect is a more open context...and just as important, it leaves some space left over for the listener's imagination to fill in


Liam, you have started some great threads here, particularly back when this GD forum first split from the main LMA forum you were a big part in helping to breathe life into its anemic beginning

...keep 'em comin' bro!

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Poster: Liamfinnegan Date: Mar 30, 2007 4:27am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Trails from the Blotter: The Grateful Range

Your words of encouragement are well taken- I do appreciate it- I like to challenge my own mind- it keeps t hings fresh and it has been shown that one who does challenge their mind is able to forge new neuronal connections- keeping the brain vibrant and alive.

Now that Miles quintet was something else- who would be crazy enough to play when Carter and Williams were playing? No one. More importantly, I agree with you about the dead going on the road back then as a quintet with no keys- that would have been the correct move- Jerry could have covered some of those keyboard lines- but it would have worked.

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Poster: grendelschoice Date: Mar 30, 2007 5:25am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Trails from the Blotter: The Grateful Range

It was Hornsby himself who said the Dead's philosophy was "why play one note when you can play 5?" He meant this as a testament to the Dead's ambitions playing live but also as a source of frustration for him that made it very difficult to play live with them. Hornsby is a wonderful musician who loved the Dead's music, and he was fun to see w/the band towards the end but I would agree w/the assesment that he never really fit in, and always sounded very much like a 'special guest star'.

Vinny was a too-quick hire. Nothing against him at all, but also not a good fit.

Still, when it comes to post-Brent Dead, I think talking about Vinny and Bruce completely misses the far more salient point:

It was the rest of the band that was out of sorts.

Especially vocally. I mean, any show post 1990 features an incredibly weak-voiced Jerry that's just so painful to listen to. The guy simply can't carry even the easiest of notes anymore, he sounds and looks tired, and the rest of the band isn't far behind because of it.

Yes, yes, yes, there ARE flashes of brilliance, as there always are in even the band's worst of times (see 1986)...but even Bobby is sounding dead tired post '90...I just recently listened to this incredible SUPPLICATION JAM from, I think, 3-24-95, and it really was terrific...better still it segues into ESAU, and I thought, oh man, this is just amazing, this is gonna be great---and then Bobby starts to sing and it sounds like he's got a cat stuck in his throat. Just barely got through the song, and really, I think they could have had any keyboardist in the hot seat after 1990 and it wouldn't have mettered.

Too much touring, too many idiot fans crashing gates, too much, too much, too much for a group of guys who , let's face it, were not kids anymore, and just could not sustain the kind of grinding tour machine they were expected to year in and year out.

That really is the biggest problem about post-Brent Dead....not the loss of Brent, but time and strain catching up with the band as a whole.

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Poster: tree-ap Date: Mar 30, 2007 10:03am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Trails from the Blotter: The Grateful Range

Agreeing with most of you here, Vince was just here to fill the empty chair, and Bruce was just a "guest star" @ all the shows he did with the GD. The band was tired, and it was getting harder & harder for them to keep up the grinding machine that The Grateful Dead became. The largest venues they could find were selling out, & there were STILL too many people outside the gates with nothing better to do than party (or who were there to do nothing BUT party). While I will never say that I didn't enjoy the party aspect of going to shows, I was there for music ultimately.

I've said before that I think they would've taken another "retirement" after '95 had Jerry not died then. They may have had a fall tour after all the terrible shit that went down in the summer, but I think it would have been prefaced with the anouncement that they were taking time off---indefinitely. Taking a year or two & coming back for a Fall tour in '98, or Spring tour in '99 might've helped Jerry kick his habit for awhile, and thinned out the crowds enough to push on for maybe another few years. Then I think tours would be shorter, and only maybe twice a year. Any way you look at it, the end came as it came which is a shame considering the events leading up to Brent's & Jerry's deaths. Anyone remember Pittsburgh in '89 (I think it was Pitt?) and the "riots" where so many people were pummelled by the pigs, and it was flashed on the evening news all across the country about the deadheads & their unruliness? Camping & vending was officially disallowed, then the next Summer Brent died---the real beginning of the end. Then the summer of '95, and we all remember how bad that was.

Back to Vince & Bruce though---yes, there were moments of magic, BUT, The Grateful Dead had basically lost it's boiler, thus NO STEAM...

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Poster: grendelschoice Date: Mar 30, 2007 1:40pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Trails from the Blotter: The Grateful Range

Tree-ap

totally agree w/your "what-if" scenario...i often wonder if they could somehow have just scaled back the constant touring, played only a few select times a year for the right audiences, what might have been...

sadly, from what i've heard, they were supporting so many people financially by the 90's that they HAD to keep touring, but it sure did take its toll.

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Poster: The Bopper Date: Mar 29, 2007 9:32pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Trails from the Blotter: The Grateful Range

Liam, I pretty much agree with you...although I've been enjoying some '91's lately for heck of it. But it's just a sampling, and I usually cut it off because I know they played every song so much better pre-coma and I crave it.

1. I almost don't listen to anything post-coma unless I'm really TRYING to give something a chance. Most of the time it's '82-'85 when I want to find something I really feel like listening to.

2. I think Jerry really liked Bruce's energy and this one reason why people speak so highly of this time period. Jerry seemed energized to some people and Bruce may have been the reason why.

3. It's almost not fair to compare Brent to Vince/Bruce. I find myself doing this all the time though, and I shouldn't. Whenever I listen to a Stranger or something post '90 I wince when hear Vince. I do this because how think how perfect Brent's fills were on so many tunes. Granted, I skip Brent's own tunes almost every time (especially those Don't Need Love's - though I like Far from Me and Easy to Love You post coma) but like you said, he just blended in to the band where Bruce did sound like a guest and Vince just couldn't cut it. On the other hand, I don't have a problem comparing Keith and Brent because the sound was so different. I just don't compare the two. But like Bruce energized the band in '90-'91, Brent had the same effect in '79-'80

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Poster: Arbuthnot Date: Mar 29, 2007 6:20pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Trails from the Blotter: The Grateful Range

Lazarus ... i have listened to so few shows from late '80s and '90s that i really cannot respond with any authority or definitiveness, or with valid reasons; however, i have seen Bruce with the GD and have listened to some of those and other shows since finding this here Archive, and i don't know, i do very much love Bruce w/the GD, and i can't really say that i interpreted his being in the band as more of a guest, though i must admit that the opposite may very well have been a thought in my head, in that i felt he had not yet earned his GD stripes; but really, i just loved his style of playing and respect the man, the musician, and feel that he added variation and perhaps divergence from the Brent era sound; however, no musician am i and so i can only respond from a listener's perspective, but very nice thread you have started and i look forward to what others more knowledgeable than i have to say; and can i also add that your Subject heading is probably the most creative one i've seen here at LMA to date? Very nice, thanks for this and for all your threads, i think.

This post was modified by Arbuthnot on 2007-03-30 01:20:42

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Poster: Liamfinnegan Date: Mar 29, 2007 9:54pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Trails from the Blotter: The Grateful Range

well- maybe not ALL my threads- rough beginning there- but thanks- I am responding from a musical training perspective so I suspect there is a bit of snobbery in my opinion

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Poster: lobster12 Date: Mar 30, 2007 10:39am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Trails from the Blotter: The Grateful Range

Have to disagree my man, but totally respect your opinion. I think Bruce adapted right away. They tried to play some of his tunes, But bruce was the one who pulled them out of rotation so i don't think he really tried to rangify them. Also, he was the equal to mydland because both guys could make a bad show respectable and a good show, great. Look, I'm a Hornsby guy so take that for what it is but If you check out the Europe and NYE run from 1990 and the whole 1991 year I can safely say it wouldn't have been as successful without him. Even if you don't like Hornsby, you have to say he kept the band on their toes and the fans as well. If you saw a gig with him you never knew what was going to happen. First set dark star, ect. That was all Hornsby's influence.

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Poster: Earl B. Powell Date: Mar 30, 2007 11:27am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Trails from the Blotter: The Grateful Range

I think from this retrospective point of view that if not for a huge corporate family dependent on the touring, that Garcia could have hung it up after Brent's death. It's been pretty well documented how awful Garcia felt about his passing.

There was little musical incentive to move forward, and Garcia seemed to put in better performances where he was challenged, as with JGB and with Grisman. That said, if it weren't for Hornsby bringing a fresh approach and work ethic, the Dead may have called it quits right then and there. As to whether he was a sideman or a member of the band...no keyboard player was ever safe in that particular chair...and nobody except maybe Pig ever felt at home there.

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Poster: lobster12 Date: Mar 30, 2007 3:37pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Trails from the Blotter: The Grateful Range

Funny thing about you saying ,"not being safe in the sidesman's chair" I read something very interesting in Dennis macnally's book. According to him, Brent was hitting the drugs hard in late 1989 and supposedly had an overdose. At that point Garca called hornsby and asked him to replace Mydland on the spot. The book states that Hornsby never returned the call probably out of some loyalty to mydland. Seems like it was the Keith situation all over again.

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Poster: Fishead Date: Mar 31, 2007 5:23am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Trails from the Blotter: The Grateful Range

i never read that book ..but i find it hard to believe that
jerry did that . unless hornsby says that happened .i can't see jerry kickin' brent out cause of an supposed overdose thats kinda ridicoulous don't ya think ...

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Poster: lobster12 Date: Mar 31, 2007 8:27am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Trails from the Blotter: The Grateful Range

It came from macnally and I think he was trying to say that jer didn't want to go through the whole Keith experience again. I do find it interesting that the biggest "user" of the group would be the one to lay the hammer to someone else about drug abuse.

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Poster: BryanE Date: Mar 29, 2007 8:17pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Trails from the Blotter: The Grateful Range

Over here on the other end of the opinion spectrum, Way to Go Home is a post-modern Grateful Dead song that I really have fun hearing. Like another Hunter-penned tune from the same era, Liberty, the lyrics have a comic strip kind of quality to me. In Liberty, if the storyteller were an eagle, he'd dress like a duck. In Way to Go Home, the object of the song's scrutiny walks around in circles, (his) nose to the ground. These images are whimsical, a little sarcastic, and show how Hunter gains more finesse being playful with his work as he gets older. And the deliberate, piano-heavy nature of the music in the song pumps me up. Overall, Samba In The Rain sounds great to me, musically. The melody of the verse does feel a bit forced, though. But as a jamming vehicle, it takes off nicely.

Vince Welnick was from a background wholly different from the Dead in his professional experience, but the key word here is that he was, indeed, a professional. He had the ability to vamp with anybody should occasion call for it. I recall watching him step in to jam with Sting's band in the opening slot for the Dead during the one show I saw on that tour, and that group was certainly not comprised of musical novices by any means. Immediately prior to his Grateful Dead assignment, he had been a side man for Todd Rundgren, another artist with fairly steep standards to which he has held his bandmates through the years. There was a lot of Zappa talk a couple of days ago, and one of the few acts that could hold a candle to Frank and The Mothers in terms of no-holds-barred outlandishness on stage was The Tubes. And they, too, were a San Francisco band. It is a small world, so it is not unlikely that his path crossed that of the Dead's personnel over the years. Plus he could sing the high harmonies, which was part of the job description in terms of what the Dead needed.

Granted, it is Wikipedia, so some of this link should only be taken with a grain of salt, but there are some things in it that I had never read that might be of interest.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vince_Welnick

I believe that Vince deeply loved being in The Grateful Dead and probably felt astonished and perhaps a bit humbled by the opportunity to have his name listed as part of such a legendary phenomenon. It came with an unexpected price, though, and as he learned, those guys could be unpredictably quirky and prickly about things, which was, undoubtedly, a big factor in what led to his death.

Honestly, I am barely familiar with Bruce's work as a Grateful Dead member. Out of curiosity, I have tracked down one or two of their performances of Stander On the Mountain, which sounded really nice, but beyond that I've heard scant other material. A CD that Arbuthnot sent to me not long ago is of one of the Bruce shows, and I have not studied it closely. Bland as a reaction as this might be, I can only say that it is 90's-era Dead. With Hornsby. It is not at all unpleasant to my ear, but I am not able to proffer a deeper analysis than that. Like Vince, though, and perhaps even more so having been in a band that did Dead covers before he got famous, Hornsby certainly relished his association with the band. Jerry's guest work in the studio for Bruce is evidence of that.

He does seem at this point to be ambiguous regarding his legacy as a former Grateful Dead member. The only times I have seen him perform have been at Furthur Festival shows, and he was astoundingly good. And I understand that he still includes songs like Black Muddy River in his shows. But after the last Furthur tour he did, he was asked if there were plans for another one, and he replied, "Stick a fork in it. It's done." The Grateful Dead had always been notorious wise-asses, and maybe that rubbed off on him. Maybe he's always been just as much of wise-ass himself. And then again maybe that comment meant little or nothing in the long run. But he is definitely moving forward in his career, with the Ricky Scaggs collaboration, along with composing for a musical theatre project. He's a hugely talented guy, and I'm glad to know that his creativity is thriving.

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Poster: buscameby Date: Mar 30, 2007 8:39am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Trails from the Blotter: The Grateful Range

I don't know when you started listening to the band or what your preferences are for era's. but as one who jumped on in the 70's I have always been fond of Keith's Grand sound.
So when Bruce joined and brought some of that back I have ot say I loved it and thought it was refreshing.

I highly recommend the Denver run in DXecember 90 as my favorite Bruce shows. I'm not saying they are the best by far, I actually think the 60's were the heigth of the music but I was sure gald to have the rest or I'd never had heard any of it.*S*

At least we have the opportunity to listen and get our own opinions on it, I have to give props to LMA. Thank God for LMA and High Speed ISP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Poster: Scrim Date: Mar 29, 2007 7:23pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Trails from the Blotter: The Grateful Range

Liam, I feel the same way that you do on all accounts. I couldn't have said it better, or with more respect.

The only thing I'll add, is that Bruce was fun as a "guest" keyboardist with Brent. Never would have seen him as the only keyboardist though.

Rock on

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Poster: skuzzlebutt Date: Mar 29, 2007 6:13pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Trails from the Blotter: The Grateful Range

Generally speaking, I agree w/you about post-Brent Dead. I've always had the feeling that the Welnick hire was a hasty one, and one at least a few members wished later that they could have back. Too often his choice of sound just didn't seem to blend with what the rest of the boys were doing. However, I don't want assign too much blame to Vince, as it's my personal belief that the band's decline during the 90s would have occured no matter who the keyboard player was. Yes, I know there were a few good shows here and there, but to me 1991 was the last year they really kept their head above water. 1992 was unfortunate, and it just kept getting worse after that.

Have to disagree about Hornsby, though. His playing could definately be a little bit busy at times, but overall he was a breath of fresh air- what I'd have really loved to have heard was Hornsby as the only keyboardist (Harkening back to the Godchaux days). I never got the feeling that he was trying to take over the band or control their direction. I do think he grew frustrated with Garcia's up-and-down, now I'm focused-now I'm not routine, but he would hardly have been alone in that regard.

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Poster: Liamfinnegan Date: Mar 29, 2007 9:57pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Trails from the Blotter: The Grateful Range

My opinion is formed from what his musical language was stating- No place do I say he is not a great player- and I tipped my hat to the moments when he did fill admirably-

But he played enough shows with the band that he could have found his place in the mosaic of the sound- but all I hear, most of the time, is his musical voice sticking out like a sore thumb-

Players are people, too, and their voicings speak as to whether they are leaders or followers- Bruce is a band leader- and a damn good one at that- but he could not do this with the Dead-

My point is that I heard him trying to do this numerous times- and this is fine for a guest player- like Brandford-or like Santana did on that birdsong in 92- but bruce never accomodated his stylings to the ensemble- sorta like a lead actor given a supporting role and trying to steal the movie-

On stage we called this "upstaging"- and that is what I hear

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Poster: skuzzlebutt Date: Mar 30, 2007 5:38am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Trails from the Blotter: The Grateful Range

Easy, hoss, I'm not saying you don't think Bruce was great or that you're not giving his props.

I'm just saying that to my admittedly untrained ears, he doesn't sound like he's trying to upstage anyone or lead the band (offstage we call this "trying to be the boss of me"). I like Hornsby with the Dead; in fact he was one of the few things about post-Brent Dead I did like.

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Poster: Fishead Date: Mar 30, 2007 12:12pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Trails from the Blotter: The Grateful Range

i think u think too much ...bruce was a guest member and that's all he was . he was there to help fill a void . but got tired of jerry's drugs haabit . he was bored . the band was boring to play in . he wasnt trying to upstage anyone . i think that's obvious. but feel free to think otherwise.

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Poster: skuzzlebutt Date: Mar 30, 2007 7:47pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Trails from the Blotter: The Grateful Range

Right on. Talking the long view all these years later, Hornsby was the akin to the Deck Chair Coordinator on the Titanic.